M A I N   N E W S

Portfolio allocation throws up surprises
Chidambaram gets Finance, Pranab Defence, Patil Home
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Newly sworn in Cabinet Ministers of the United Progressive Alliance come out after attending the first Cabinet meeting at Prime Ministerís Office in New Delhi
Newly sworn in Cabinet Ministers of the United Progressive Alliance come out after attending the first Cabinet meeting at Prime Ministerís Office in New Delhi on Sunday. ó PTI photo

New Delhi, May 23
The allocation of portfolios by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after intense confabulation till late at night saw P. Chidambaram regaining the crucial Finance portfolio and senior Congress leaders Pranab Mukherjee, Shivraj Patil and Arjun Singh being put in charge of the Defence, Home and Human Resource Development Ministries, respectively.

The exercise was not without its pulls and pressures till the very end, especially from the pre-poll allies of the Congress, which saw RJD's Laloo Prasad Yadav running away with the Railways portfolio and a distraught LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan settling for Chemicals, Fertilisers and Steel. DMK's Dayanidhi Maran, a first-time entrant at the Centre, gets the key portfolio of IT and Communications.

The surprise was that Dr Singh has lessened the burden on himself of overseeing the Finance Ministry initially and Kamal Nath heads the Commerce Ministry, according to the communique issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan here late tonight.

The demand of the Left parties to do away with the Disinvestment Ministry has been accepted and a new ministry of non-resident affairs created which will be headed by Minister of State with Independent Charge Jagdish Tytler.

As expected, Natwar Singh of the Congress has got the External Affairs Ministry and H.R. Bharadwaj will take care of Law and Justice, NCP's Sharad Pawar has got Food and Agriculture and his colleague and Minister of State with Independent Charge Praful Patel has been given Civil Aviation.

The Congress has kept most of the key portfolios within its ranks with Ghulam Nabi Azad overseeing Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development, Petroleum and Natural Gas and Panchayati Raj going to Mani Shankar Aiyar, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi overseeing water resources and film star-turned-politician Sunil Dutt heading the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry.

Among other allies of the Congress, JMM's Shibu Soren has got coal, mines and minerals; PMK's Anbumani Ramdoss, Health; K. Chandrashekhar Rao of TRS, shipping; and DMK's A. Raja, Environment and Forests; and T.R. Ballu Road Transport and Highways.

The portfolios of other Ministers of State holding Independent Charge are as follows: Santosh Mohan Dev (Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises), Subodh Kant Sahay (Food Processing), Renuka Choudhury (Tourism), Kapil Sibal (Ocean Development, Science and Technology), Oscar Fernandes (Statistics and Programme Implementation), Vilast Muttemwar (Non-Conventional Energy Sources), Ms Selja (Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation), and Prem Chand Gupta (Company Affairs).

As Prithviraj Chauhan has been appointed Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Rao Inderjit Singh is the junior minister in the Ministry of External Affairs and Mr Patil will be assisted by three Ministers of State in the Home Ministry.

The communique notes that the ministries which have remained unallocated will be looked after by the Prime Minister.

Clearly, the effort to impress upon the PMK to give up the Health portfolio failed which necessitated further fine tuning of the portfolios and trying to satisfy Mr Paswan. He refused to accept that the allocation of portfolios had been delayed because of him.

The TRS, which has joined the government on the demand of creating a separate Telengana State impressed on the leadership that there was no need to refer the issue to the second State Reorganisation Commission.

Mr K. Chandrashekhar Rao of the TRS impressed at the meeting of the United Progressive Alliance leaders at Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence that the creation of Telegana state should find mention in the Common Minimum Programme, which is expected to be finalised on May 27.


Who got what

New Delhi, May 23
The following is the allocation of portfolios of the Council of Ministers: Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister.

Cabinet Ministers
Pranab Mukherjee, Defence; P. Chidambaram, Finance; Shivraj Patil, Home; Natwar Singh, External Affairs; Arjun Singh, Human Resource Development; Sharad Pawar, Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution; Laloo Prasad, Railways; Ram Vilas Paswan, Chemicals and Fertilisers, Steel; Ghulam Nabi Azad, Parliamentary Affairs, Urban Development; S. Jaipal Reddy, Information and Broadcasting, Culture; Kamal Nath, Commerce and Industry; H.R. Bhardwaj, Law and Justice; Sis Ram Ola, Labour and Employment; Mahavir Prasad, Small-Scale, Agro and Rural Industries; P.R. Kyndiah, Tribal Affairs, Development of North-East; T.R. Baalu, Road Transport and Highways; S. Vaghela, Textiles; P.M. Sayeed , Power; Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Rural Development; P.R. Dashmunsi, Water Resources; Mani Shankar Aiyar, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Panchayati Raj; Sunil Dutt, Youth Affairs and Sports; Shibu Soren, Coal, Mines and Minerals; A. Raja, Environment and Forest; Dayanidhi Maran, Communication and IT; Meira Kumar, Social Justice and Empowerment; K. Chandra Shekar Rao, Shipping; Anbumani Ramdoss, Health and Family Welfare.

Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
Santosh Mohan Deb, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises; Jagdish Tytler, Non-Resident Affairs; Oscar Fernandes, Statistics and Programme Implementation; Renuka Choudhury, Tourism; Subodh Kant Sahai, Food Processing; Kapil Sibal, Science and Technology, Ocean Development; Vilas Muttemwar, Non-Conventional Energy Sources; Kumari Selja, Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation; Praful Patel, Civil Aviation; Premchand Gupta, Company Affairs.

Ministers of State
E.Ahamed, External Affairs; Suresh Pachauri, Personnel, Parliamentary Affairs; B.K. Handique, Defence, Parliamentary Affairs; Ms Panabaka Lakshmi, Health and Family Welfare; Dr Desari Narayan Rao, Coal and Mines; Shaqeel Ahmed, Communications and Information Technology; Rao Inderjit Singh, External Affairs; Naranbhai Rathwa, Railways; Rehman Khan, Chemicals and Fertilisers; K.H.Muniappa, Road Transport and Highways; M.V. Rajashekharan, Planning; Kantilal Bhuria, Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution; Manik Rao Gavit, Home Affairs; Prakash Jaiswal, Home Affairs; Prithviraj Chavan, Prime Ministerís Office; Taslimuddin, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises; Suryakanta Patil, Rural Development Parliamentary Affairs; Md. Ali Ashraf Fatmi, Human Resource Development; A.Narendra, Rural Development; R.Velu, Railways; S.S. Palanimanikkam, Commerce and Industry; S. Regupathy, Home Affairs; K.Venkatapathy, Law and Justice; Subbulakshmi Jegadeesan, Social Justice and Empowerment; E.V.K. Elangovan, Petroleum and Natural Gas; Kanti Singh, Human Resource Development; Namo Narayan Meena, Environment and Forests; Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, Water Resources; Akhilesh Singh, Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution.

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